Teens and Money: Are your teens prepared for the future?

CNMAGDo your teens still think money grows on trees? Do you think they should start learning how to be responsible with their money? Our Agency, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has recently launched a new internet resource called The City, which will help your teens understand how to take care of their money. This means they might actually take a break from borrowing yours.

Financial education made easy

The City was created for teens aged 15 to 18 years old. The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) first developed this resource for educators who teach Grade 10 students. It was then adapted by the FCAC to fit the school curriculum within all provinces and territories. The program is designed to help teens learn about the world of finances, and learn how to make good financial decisions to support their future.

The City is available on-line, and allows teens to explore money issues like how to save, how to budget, how to build a good credit history, how to protect themselves against identity theft, and more. The City uses interesting characters and storylines to teach financial lessons through different learning modules. Youth can see how the characters experience their own money problems, and more importantly, see how they solve them. This prepares them to deal with similar financial issues safely and effectively in their own lives.

There are 11 modules in total and they cover financial topics that your teens may not know much about, even though they will be very important to understand for the rest of their lives. The topics include Income, Expenses and Budgets; Savings and Banking; Credit and Debt; Insurance; Investing; and Financial Planning.

Why is it so important for teens to understand money matters? Many young Canadians leave high school lacking financial life skills and don’t know the harsh financial realities they’ll face in the “real” world. The result is that they end up making costly mistakes, such as having too many credit cards, not being able to pay for their cell phone, and falling deep in debt with serious long-term consequences.

Also, many students will be looking to further their education and will have to take out a student loan to finance their college or university education. These loans are usually given in two lump sums, one each semester, and it is up to the student to budget wisely.

This means that separating needs, like books, and tuition; from wants, like new clothes and mp3 players, is very important in order to make it through the school year without having to take out more costly loans.

Some students may also be looking to move out on their own around this age, and this means being able to budget for even more things like rent, utilities, groceries and spending money. Some landlords may even want to check their future tenants’ credit reports – something which may be unfamiliar to many high school students.

With The City, students will be able to learn what they need to know to manage their finances for such events. They will also gain a basic understanding of insurance and investment, which will be helpful in securing their financial futures.

Where is The City available?

The City is a free program and can be accessed in a number of different ways. It fits into the school curriculum in every province and territory, so your teen’s teacher may already be planning on using it to teach students about finances.

Talk to your teen’s teacher to see if they have any plans to cover financial planning during the school year, using The City.

If not, your teen can still complete the modules on their own, or you can register as a teacher and use the material provided to help educate your kids about money. You can find The City on-line at themoneybelt.ca.

The Moneybelt

The web portal, themoneybelt.ca, offers more than just resources for teens. People of all ages can benefit from the material on this portal, which offers tips, information, activities, and more on a wide variety of financial topics.

Everybody needs to acquire financial knowledge and confidence, and our website is a great place to start. It is especially important for teens, as they have their whole future ahead of them, and should be aware of how their money will work in the “real” world. Have your teen take our quick quiz on page 45 to see how The City can benefit them. You can also try the quiz yourself to see how much you know about finances, and see which areas you might need to brush up on!

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) is a Federal Government agency which offers financial information to consumers across Canada. You can find information on other topics such as mortgages, bank accounts, credit cards, credit reports and more by visiting our web portal at themoneybelt.ca. You can also reach us by phone, toll-free at 1-866-461-3222 (TTY phone service available toll-free at 1-866-914-6097).

CNM